Lenten reading suggestions to draw close to the cross of our Savior
By Katie Bogner
Lent: It’s a time to give up and take up. Alongside your Lenten sacrifices, we suggest you take up one of these powerful books as a guide to draw you closer to the Cross of our Savior.
The Cries of Jesus from the Cross: An Anthology, by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, from Sophia Institute Press is an anthology of seven of Sheen’s books. Each of the original books have seven chapters correlating a theme (like virtue, beatitudes, Mary, etc.) to Christ’s Last Words from the Cross. The anthology includes several out-of-print titles and reorganizes the chapters to be topical instead of by book. You can read through all the related teachings and wisdom that Sheen shared in many of his Good Friday retreats in one place. It’s the perfect length to read one chapter each day during Lent and Holy Week.
Fulton Sheen’s writing is timeless and relevant. He brings together profound truth in Scripture with the powerful word choice of an orator, leaving a lasting impression that will help you both to better understand your faith while also leaving you filled with wonder at the depth of the wisdom and plan of God.
Remember Your Death: Memento Mori Lenten Devotional, by Sister Theresa Alethia Noble, FSP, from Pauline Books and Media started as an interesting social media project. Sister Theresa kept a ceramic skull on her desk and used Twitter to engage in a discussion about Memento Mori, the concept that Christians must “remember their death” each day. Considering that we will all die and therefore we need a Savior is a critical part of our decision to follow Christ.
In this Lenten devotional, Sister Theresa is bringing back the ancient practice through her written reflections and a guided Memento Mori examen for each day. I love that this devotional is designed to be used Lent after Lent (it even lists the Mass Readings for all three Liturgical Cycles), so we can develop the continued habit of remembering our mortality and desiring heaven. The devotional poses great questions but doesn’t have a lot of extra space, so the companion journal with more than 200 blank lined pages and unique Memento Mori quotes is a perfect companion.
A FEW MORE RESOURCES
Looking for an age appropriate book for children or teens, or a new set of Stations of the Cross for yourself? Here are a few more resources to help your family have a fruitful Lent. The covers appear at the top of this page.
- The Stations of the Cross for Children, by Jerry Windley-Daoust, illustrations by Vicki Shuck, from Peanut Butter and Grace Publishing. This sweet book would be a perfect companion for children, especially little ones, during Holy Week. Each Station shares a full-page illustration created for young children, and a very short set of readings and prayers (each only a sentence or two) helping little ears listen and giving quiet time for reflection.
- Lent: One Day at a Time for Catholic Teens, by Katie Prejean McGrady and Tommy McGrady, Ave Maria Press. This daily but undated Lenten prayer book provides a Scripture verse, a relevant reflection, questions to think about, a doable challenge, and a short prayer. It would be great for a teen’s personal prayer, or for use in a middle/high school classroom or youth group.
- The Way of the Cross, by Archbishop Fulton Sheen, from Alba House. Originally written by Sheen in 1932, I think this Way of the Cross is one of his most beautiful and profound works. A perfect companion for personal prayer or easily formatted for a group, this booklet will help you pray and ponder as you walk with Jesus on His way to Calvary.
- St. Therese of Lisieux’s Little Way of the Cross, from Just Love Prints on Etsy. These lovely little 4 inch-by-4 inch cards each contain a Scripture verse, a reflection, words from St. Therese’s writings, and a short prayer. Praying the Stations alongside the beloved St. Therese with this new set of prayers is sure to be a fruitful and beautiful experience. Just Love Prints also offers a printable set with license to print for a school or parish for those wishing to use these for group devotion.
KATIE BOGNER is the junior high faith formation teacher at St. Philomena School in Peoria and a member of The Catholic Post’s new six-member book review team.